Since the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch, one character in particular has gathered a disproportionate amount of attention, with some players declaring him the rarest character in the game. This character is Raymond, a cat villager.
What’s the deal with Raymond?
Raymond is a gray-colored cat in office attire. An office cat motif is amusing to begin with, but players have pointed out that he’s the only cat in the game with a “smug” personality, which is odd given how independent and aloof housecats can be in real life. This combination of traits already makes Raymond an appealing character.
But there’s something more that makes him stand out. Raymond has heterochromia, a rare condition in which both his eyes are different colors. Heterochromia is considered appealing in certain creative communities, particularly those influenced by Japanese media. Many in such communities who make their own original characters give their characters heterochromia because it’s one way to make a character seem more special.
If players were to visit Raymond’s house on their island, they would find the interior decor has an office theme. This immediately appeals to those adapting to working at home in light of the recent coronavirus epidemic, as Raymond’s home office indicates a character that a portion of the Animal Crossing community can relate to. More appropriate still is that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a game that people made a point of obtaining before widespread shutdowns took effect, to the point that people were grateful that GameStop resisted the shutdowns long enough to allow them to obtain a copy of the game.
So, is Raymond really the rarest character in the game? Not really. Whether at the Campsite or through Nook Miles Tickets, Raymond has the same odds of appearing as each of the other potential villagers. However, he is the current most desirable villager, and considering that there’s hundreds of possible villagers, there is high demand for this one character.
The demand is so high, that some players are stocking up on Nook Miles Tickets in an effort to get more chances to obtain this character. Some players are willing to exchange valuable in-game assets, such as millions of bells (the in-game currency) with other players on sites such as Discord for the opportunity to have Raymond move from one player’s island to another. In some cases, players are willing to spend real-life money in excess of the cost of the game to obtain Raymond from another player.
Of note is that because Raymond is a new character, an Amiibo for Raymond was not available at the time Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released, so players couldn’t simply scan it for the guarantee that Raymond would appear at the campsite.
Expediting Raymond’s popularity is that because players notice other players going to great lengths to obtain this character, there is an increased perception of value to him. On top of that, he gets noticed just for all the attention that surrounds him, similar to how the first result of a search engine favors results that get more traffic, and placing higher in search results results in yet more traffic.
There are many other popular villagers in ACNH. Among these are Marina, an octopus (there are only three octopuses in the game), Ankha, a cat that resembles King Tut’s sarcophagus, Lucky, a dog that was heavily bandaged, and Marshall, a squirrel that resembles a marshmallow.
What’s my favorite villager? Maybe I’ll reveal that in another post.